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Proverbs and spiders

Reader comment on item: Musing on History
in response to reader comment: protection zone needed in Syria.

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Apr 11, 2016 at 23:39

Hello, Moh. Good, as usual, to see you again. You said,

""When Jesus talked about our "loving our neighbor", then, he wasn't talking about forcing others to accept new neighbors:"

I gather that this has something to do with immigration. You are correct -- what Jesus said has nothing to do with immigration, or with politics of any kind. Jesus used the parable of the Good Samaritan, to say that, as far as God is concerned, your "neighbor" that you must love as yourself is the person right in front of you, regardless of how holy or lowly you think they are; because the object of your love isn't what God is concerned about: He loved YOU, giving you your own life: making you something like God Himself, imparting to you the most precious substance in all of eternity, namely, a part of His holy essence. He did that when not only were you unclean, you were absolutely nothing; you didn't even exist, and He gave you existence. So when the Samaritan encountered the wounded traveller, he gave: He gave without questioning and without judgment; he gave of his own substance, that God had given to him.

But immigration? Migrants come, and migrants go. Who knows more about being a migrant than a Jew? You live here, you live there... Sometimes you're welcomed, and sometimes not. Sometimes there is literally "no room at the inn", and the door is shut; so you spend the night in the barn and give birth in a manger. It's not my business, to tell other people whom they should care for and whom not. I have only one person living in my "inn", namely, my wife. For the others, we have a Rescue Mission, which we support, and to which I go once a month to teach the Scriptures. And if someone is in distress when I am travelling (not someone who begs for a living or for pin money), I do what I can to help them out.

Jesus said elsewhere,

Matthew 15:
[26] But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.


Matthew 15:
[4] For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
[5] But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
[6] And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Elsewhere, Paul says, concerning caring for those in the church,

1 Timothy 5:
[3] Honour widows that are widows indeed.
[4] But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
[5] Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
[6] But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

That's what Jesus meant by "loving your neighbor"; and many other instructions as well; but he said nothing about dealings of public policy, nor of immigration.

You went on,

"So it should be with the genuine Syrian refugees - they should be 'put up' in a UN protected and administered 'no fly' zone in any large part of Syria near the coast."

I am an American. I vote for my representatives and my President, to look after my interests and those of my neighbors. As an Australian, you do the same for your own house. If airmen and soldiers from your country and mine have found themselves in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria, they are there for one legitimate reason: to protect us and our families. Our enemies have attacked us from their homelands, where they have nurtured and coddled terrorists and we are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them in our own countries. Providing comfort for terrorists includes a price; and those Afghans and Syrians are paying the price with their devastated countries and their poverty. That is their responsibility, not ours. We aren't morally obligated to provide them with "no-fly" zones, nor with anything else.

Concerning archaealogical finds, you said,

"Couldn't they tell from the amount of radioactive Cesium etc in the bones?"

The ratio of radioactive isotopes in the bones tells us approximately when the individual was buried; it says nothing about the person's age when he died. The age of such remains is judged by other means: by the size of the bones, the condition of the teeth, the apparent presence of age-related deformities such as arthritis, etc.; and our point of reference is the modern human condition. In the time of the Bible patriarchs such as Adam, people were apparently active and healthy at hundreds of years of age. Noah's sons were apparently still childless at age 100, and strong enough to build the ark at the direction of their 600-year-old father, who showed no signs, that we know of, of senility. Noah became a father at age 500, without the help of Viagra ®; yet by the time of Abraham, he considered himself "old" at the young age of 100, unable to sire children. The apparent health of remains, therefore, tells us nothing of chronological age.

Cesium-137 dating, by the way, is used, so far as I know, to establish the dates of wine -- because that isotope is man-made, and most of it was produced in nuclear bomb tests around 1954. Carbon 14 dating is more useful in archaealogy for human and animal remains. Very old remains are usually dated by the composition of rocks and artifects found with the corpse. C-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years, a time during which Adam was alive; so it is useful for purposes we are talking about.

""...How are things holding up, down under? I could see myself living there again, with my family"
When I weigh it all up - quite nicely. Everyone has pretty good cars, good wages, good environment, lots of sun, good food, free healthcare unless you earn over $55k, relatively stable government, limited gun crime (on account of limited guns and jail time for having one with no lawful excuse)....plus any distraction you could ever want is available.
All things considered, it's not a bad sandbar to be stuck on."

That's a good report. My son-in-law is a NZ citizen, so he can obtain residency in Australia through the reciprocity agreement. This would allow my daughter and grandchildren to settle there as well, if they needed to. Her US citizenship would also allow them to live in the US, with only a few hassles. Of course, the grandchildren also have Hong Kong citizenship; so they are mobile. Old geezers like me, and my wife, are a bit more stuck in the mud; but it's Oregon mud, so that's not too bad. If part of our family moved to Australia, though, we could probably join them after a couple of years.

Hong Kong is also a pretty good place to live; but you need to boil the water and the cost of living is probably the highest in the world. English is spoken; but for most, it's not a first language. And of course, the Communist Party hangs over everyone like a spider -- worse than in our countries, at the moment (but maybe not for long).

I have to go. Shalom shalom :-)


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